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Former GOP White House Ethics Chief Explains Why Trump Should Be Barred From Running Again

Erika Goldring/Getty Images; Alex Wong/Getty Images

Richard Painter, who served as the chief White House ethics lawyer under former President George W. Bush from 2005 to 2007, explained why former President Donald Trump should be barred from running for office again.

During an appearance on CNN, Painter explained that the 14th Amendment of the United States Constitution prohibits anyone who backed an insurrection against the government from running for office.

You can hear his remarks in the video below.

Painter said that the fact that Trump incited an insurrection against Congress on January 6 certainly qualifies:

"I will note I was a Republican for 30 years, and one of the most important accomplishments of the Republican Party was the 14th Amendment of the United States Constitution."
"Section 3 of the 14th Amendment disqualifies from public office anyone who has supported an insurrection, such as what happened during January 6th at the Capitol."
"Donald Trump is disqualified from public office under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, and the Justice Department needs to appoint a special prosecutor to prosecute everyone involved in the events of that day."
"We should not have to deal with his candidacy in 2024."

Painter is correct. Section 3 of the 14th Amendment clearly states:

"No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof."

Painter did stress, however, that a special prosecutor should be appointed in order for the 14th Amendment to be invoked.

"Well, the prosecutor down in Atlanta is looking at state charges against Donald Trump, I believe, for solicitation of election fraud.
"But once again, the Department of Justice does need to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the former president and those working for him."

Many concurred with Painter's assessment and called for the 14th Amendment to be invoked against not just Trump but also the members of Congress who aided and abetted him.

Painter last month made headlines after he called for the Department of Justice (DOJ) to appoint a special prosecutor to hold Trump accountable for the events of January 6, the day a group of Trump's supporters attacked the United States Capitol on the false premise that the election had been stolen.

Writing in a column for MSNBC, Painter said Trump violated 18 USC 610 of the federal code, which makes it a federal crime for "any person to intimidate, threaten, command, or coerce, or attempt to intimidate, threaten, command, or coerce, any employee of the Federal Government … to engage in, or not to engage in, any political activity."

Painter said Attorney General Merrick Garland has both the "authority" and the "obligation" to prosecute crimes committed by the former President.